Pursuant to the New Jersey dog bite statute (N.J.S. 4:19-16), the owner of a dog who bites another person who is in a public place or lawfully in a private place, shall be liable for the damages which the victim suffers, regardless of the purported viciousness of the dog.
In essence, the victim must prove the ownership of the dog, and either that the incident occurred on public property, or if the incident occurred on private property, that the victim was entitled to be on that private property. If the victim is able to offer such proof, s/he should win his or her dog bite case because N.J.S. 4:19-16 makes liability for a dog bite, under these circumstances, a strict liability case.
New Jersey law does not consider the type of dog or the prior viciousness of the particular dog in assessing liability. In every case, the owner of the dog is liable for any injuries caused if the dog attacks an individual when s/he comes lawfully into contact with that dog.
According to recent statistics, over 4 million Americans each year suffer from dog bites. Many of these suffer serious resulting injuries, requiring treatment and sometimes hospitalization.
A key part of any dog bite case is the evaluation of the affected area by a plastic surgeon who will confirm that scarring is permanent, or whether surgical revision is possible and necessary. That surgeon should be willing to write an expert report and testify at trial if necessary.
If you are injured from a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, any lost wages, pain and suffering as well as compensation if the bite leaves a permanent scar.